Ruta graveolens (Common Rue) [15 Seeds]


Germination Information: Surface-sow the seeds in a pot, indoors in a warm, bright spot, in spring. Germination usually takes a few weeks. When the plants are an inch or two tall, transplant them to individual pots, then plant them out in the garden in midsummer.

Note that this information will not appear on the seed packet you receive.

Please read the description as well before ordering.

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You don’t often see common rue (Ruta graveolens) in gardens these days, which is kind of sad, because it is a very pretty plant. It grows in bushy clumps of woody-based stems—typically 2 to 3 feet tall once well established—with deeply cut, powder-blue, powerfully scented foliage that’s beautifully complemented by the yellow summer flowers. While being very ornamental, it has long been classified as a herb for various medicinal uses. I don’t recommend eating it, though, and you should also be careful working around the plant out in the garden, because there’s a possibility of developing severe blistering on your skin if you get the foliage oil on your skin and then expose it to sunlight. So why would you even grow it? Well, as I said, it’s a really nice ever-blue foliage accent, and it looks good as an informal edging plant or as part of a traditional herb garden. And, it is a host plant for the larvae of black swallowtail and giant swallowtail butterflies. Just remember to wear gloves when you give the stems a spring trim (or wash with soap and water right away), and keep it away from sites where an unwary child or other garden visitor might touch it.

These seeds are from a plant of ‘Variegata’, also known as ‘Harlequin’. They may produce irregular white variegation on the blue leaves, but the markings tend to be unpredictable from plant to plant, year to year, and even season to season, so I’m not selling this seed as that strain as I don’t want people to be disappointed if their seedlings don’t appear variegated. Full sun to light shade. Woody-based perennial; Zones 4 or 5 to 8 or 9.

2021-collected seeds sold out. I hope to collect again in fall 2022. At least 15 seeds.

Please read the germination information as well before ordering.

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